Speed-to-Lead: Five Tips for Responding in Five Minutes or Less


What is Speed-to-Lead?

Speed-to-lead is the total amount of time it takes to respond to a lead. Research shows that if your speed-to-lead is greater than five minutes, you lose valuable opportunities for customer connection and conversion.

What Happens in the First Five Minutes?

The short version? Your customers lose interest. You lose a critical opportunity to respond first and demonstrate your value. In 2018, Hubspot published that 82% of consumers expect an immediate response from sales and marketing.

A separate Harvard Business Review study showed that companies that respond within the first hour are “more than 60 times as likely [to qualify the lead] as companies that waited 24 hours or longer,” and 7 times more likely to qualify the lead than those contacted even within the first two hours.

But even within that first hour, we see a dramatic difference between responding within 30 minutes, 10 minutes, and 5 minutes. According to LeadSimple, contacting a lead within 5 minutes is 21 times more effective than responding within 30 minutes. Vendasta published that a sales rep that responds within the first 5 minutes is up to 80% more likely to qualify the lead than one who responds within the first 10 minutes.

This is why, for years, experts have coined the first five minutes as “the golden window.” However, with today’s ever-increasing consumer expectations, even five minutes could quickly become too long. 

A Leads360 survey indicates that sales conversions increase by 391% when contacted in the very first minute. That first minute is the most crucial for lead conversion.

In other words, the faster you can follow up with a lead, the more likely you are to close the deal. Regardless of where your organization is currently at, research shows that improving your lead response time will boost lead qualification and conversion. For peak results, get your speed-to-lead within five minutes, aiming for within the first minute if possible.

Five Tips to Get Your Response Time Under Five Minutes

1. Measure your lead response time

Peter Drucker said, “You can’t improve what you don’t measure.” Measuring lead response time requires recording the date/time for two key events:

A) Lead Creation: this is the date/time that the prospect reached out to your company. This could be the moment they downloaded a whitepaper, scheduled a demo, requested pricing, etc. It’s important that you capture the date/time that the prospect reached out–rather than the date/time that the lead was assigned to a representative. 

B) Lead Response: this is the date/time that your company responded to the lead–whether via phone, email, etc. Don’t rely on sales reps to record this date/time manually. You should be able to automatically capture this date/time in your CRM. 

Your lead response time is simply the amount of time between these two events. 

Tip: you might be tempted to only count business hours when calculating lead response time. This is a BAD idea. Your prospects don’t know or care about your business hours. 

2. Assign leads based on availability

Your lead assignment strategy should account for sales rep availability. Assigning leads to a rep who is busy or out of the office is a surefire way to let hot leads grow cold. We strongly recommend pausing assignments for reps who are unavailable. 

3. Assign leads based on skill set

It doesn’t matter how quickly you assign a lead, if it’s assigned to the wrong sales rep. It’s critical to assign leads to the right rep based on language, industry, product interest, etc. 

If you’re still assigning leads based on geographic territories instead of skill set, check out our article on the benefits of round robin assignment

4. Use a data enrichment service

You might be thinking that you don’t know enough about each lead to assign them to the right sales rep. This may be true if you’re only collecting first name, last name, and email address, for example. 

Luckily, there are plenty of data enrichment services out there that can provide you with additional information about each prospect such as their job title, industry, company name, and much more. Many of these enrichment services can connect directly to your forms or other systems and will enrich new leads the instant they hit your system. 

5. Automate lead processing

Before your sales team can respond to a lead, it must be assigned to someone. There’s a lot that may need to happen before a lead can be assigned, including the following:

  • Lead import to CRM
  • Deduplication
  • Data enrichment
  • etc.

The good news is that all of these processes can (and should) be fully automated.

BONUS: Automate the initial response

Research shows that 78% of customers buy from the company that responds first. More and more companies are relying on sales automation solutions to automate the initial response to prospects. Platforms such as Outreach and Groove can help you send prospects automated email responses that are highly relevant and feel personalized.


Quickly responding to leads should be your number one priority if you’re hoping to close more deals. Your goal should be to respond in under five minutes. 

Kubaru was designed to make it easy to fully automate lead assignment in Salesforce CRM. Schedule a free demo to learn more.

Additional Resources
Are you looking for a better way to assign leads and cases in Salesforce?

Contact us to schedule a demo today!

Schedule Demo

Fill out the form below and we’ll respond in a few minutes

* We take privacy seriously. We will never sell or share your personal information with anyone.